Ultimate Collar: Catholic Priest Charged with Dealing Cocaine From Office and Rectory

Police in Urbana, Illinois The Reverend Christopher Layden who is accused of selling cocaine from his church office and rectory. The 31-one-year old priest faces three criminal counts and has been suspended by the church.

Police report that the priest found with “about 3 grams of powder cocaine and items of drug paraphernalia” after a search of his offices. An informant told police that he has used cocaine with the priest “40 to 50 times” since 2007.

He pleaded not guilty to two counts of delivery of less than 1 gram of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church and one count of possession with intent to deliver 1 to 15 grams of cocaine near a church.

For the full story, click here and here and here.

15 thoughts on “Ultimate Collar: Catholic Priest Charged with Dealing Cocaine From Office and Rectory”

  1. rafflaw
    1, September 16, 2008 at 7:39 am
    I do not know why a church should be “protected” in this way. I wonder if it was orginally legislated because of the church schools that were more prevalent in the past

    I agree with you and Mespo that these geographically related penalty laws are ridiculous. Just because someone is near a or church doesn’t mean their crime is in any way related to that school. These sort of laws dismiss the ability of judges and officals to take into consideration special circumstances and create nightmare situtation like we’ve seen before where sentences far outweigh the crime.

    I think Professor Turley brought up the Oscar winning movie “Cool Hand Luke” in a previous thread because that movie played a role in showing us the danger of these types of laws, in that instance, minimum sentences. They are a bad thing.

    But as far as the laws being made back when church schooling was prevalent, is that right? I was under the impression these laws were more recently adopted with regards to the proximity to schools so I’m guessing so were the church ones? I don’t know, I’m asking, but it seems like they’re more recent than that.

  2. “I can understand protection for schools, but why the enhanced punishment for sales near a church. These geography based crimes are too much for me to fathom.”

    On the Fed level, the zaniest stretch that comes to mind is the use of the commerce clause in US v. Lopez (1995).

    On the State level, I’m baffled. I don’t think you could challenge it on an Establishment Clause level; so long as the statute didn’t specify particular creeds attached to said places of worship subject to the law.

    Per the geography; recall that geography is three dimensional. Accordingly, if you had a news chopper hovering 900 feet over a church with an undercover DEA agent and a coke dealing camera man…

    Kinda kooky; eh?

  3. Especially as IL pointed out the church members clearly benefitted from the priest charged with possession.

  4. I agree with you Mespo about the enhanced punishment for sales near a church. I do not know why a church should be “protected” in this way. I wonder if it was orginally legislated because of the church schools that were more prevalent in the past.

  5. “He pleaded not guilty to two counts of delivery of less than 1 gram of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a church and one count of possession with intent to deliver 1 to 15 grams of cocaine near a church.”
    ***************

    I can understand protection for schools, but why the enhanced punishment for sales near a church. These geography based crimes are too much for me to fathom.

  6. This is such a sad situation. This story has been in the local papers up here and it shocked me when I first read it. For some reason I thought of an old movie title when I read the story. The title of the movie was “Hoodlum Priest”. Maybe we should call him Father Pusher Man.

  7. This guy’s midnight mass was by far the best in town. Strobe lights, a choir that really brought it, and he talked so fast that you were in and out within 35 minutes.

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